Jump to main content.


  High-Energy Electron Injection (E-Beam) Technology for the Ex Situ Treatment of MTBE-Contaminated Ground Water (85 pp, 1.14 MB) (EPA/600/R-02/066) September 2002

This Innovative Technology Evaluation Report documents the results of applying high-energy electron injection (E-Beam) technology to ground water contaminated with methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) and with benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes (collectively called BTEX). The E-beam technology destroys organic contaminants in ground water through irradiation with a beam of high-energy electrons. A demonstration of the application was conducted at the Ventura County Naval Base in Port Hueneme, California.

Results of two weeks of steady-state operation at an E-beam dose of 1,200 kilorads indicated that MTBE and BTEX concentrations in the effluent were reduced by greater than 99.9 percent from influent concentrations that averaged over 1,700 micrograms per liter (µg/L) MTBE and 2,800 µg/L BTEX. Furthermore, the treatment goals for the demonstration, which were based on drinking water regulatory criteria, were met for all contaminants except t-butyl alcohol (tBA), a degradation product of MTBE.

Dose experiments indicated that tBA was not consistently reduced to below the treatment goal of 12 µg/L, although the results indicated that tBA by-product formation decreased as dose increased. Thus, it is possible that, at increased energy input beyond that tested in the demonstration, the E-Beam technology might have met the prescribed treatment objectives for tBA.

Acetone and formaldehyde were the two most prevalent organic by-products formed by E-beam treatment, with mean effluent concentrations during the two-week steady state testing of 160 and 125 µg/L, respectively. Bromate was not formed during E-beam treatment.

An economic analysis of the E-beam treatment system indicated that the primary costs are for the E-beam equipment and for electrical energy. The estimated cost ranged from over $40 per 1,000 gallons for a small-scale remedial application to about $1.00 per 1,000 gallons for a large-scale drinking water application.


Al Venosa

You will need Adobe Reader to view some of the files on this page.
See EPA's PDF page to learn more.

Office of Research & Development | National Risk Management Research Laboratory

Local Navigation

Jump to main content.